Federal Crop Insurance Corp. needs to expand use of the Biotech Yield Endorsement (BYE) beyond four pilot states into states such as Nebraska for the 2009 growing season, according to the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Farm Bureau President Keith Olsen said there’s a great deal of interest from Nebraska corn producers about this new pilot program.

“Assuming they comply with the requirements of the BYE, corn producers in our state should also have the opportunity to receive a discount on their crop insurance premiums by planting BYE-qualifying hybrids to manage risk more effectively,” Olsen said in comments this week to FCIC.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the pilot BYE allows eligible producers to receive a premium rate reduction for planted corn on a unit-by-unit basis.

In 2008, Olsen said, savings in the four pilot states may range from $3 to $7 an acre for farmers who are using revenue-based crop insurance products such as CRC or RA.

“Expansion of this program will encourage more currently insured growers to buy up coverage and prompt uninsured growers to purchase insurance,” he said. “Encouraging increased participation in lower-risk technologies and participation in crop insurance in general is consistent with the goal many of us have of improving the existing safety net for producers.”

The four pilot BYE states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota.

Olsen said that with rising land costs, cash rents, input and energy costs, corn producers in Nebraska understand the risk associated with corn production and would welcome the opportunity to participate in the BYE as a way to better manage their risks.

“We strongly believe that expanding availability of the BYE to all corn-growing states will help growers meet unprecedented challenges with the volatile markets while also making premium rates reflect the lower risk inherent to the BYE-qualified technology,” he said.

According to the USDA, the pilot BYE is available this year and will end at the end of the 2011 crop year, unless canceled or extended by FCIC.

The main requirements are that producers must purchase an individual yield or revenue insurance plan (APH, RA, or CRC) at a buy-up level of coverage, and at least 75 percent of the total insured corn acres planted in a unit must be nonirrigated corn for grain planted to a corn hybrid containing Monsanto triple-stack genetics. However, producers are still subject to current EPA refuge requirements.

According to the USDA, biotechnology varieties accounted for 79 percent of the planted acreage in Nebraska in 2007, up from 76 percent the previous year.

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Source: The Grand Island Independent